Understanding Biomechanics of the Neck: How Heavy is Your Head?

Though it’s the most condensed segment of spine, the cervical spine is of special importance. It’s where Atlas (C1) is located – the gateway that connects your central nervous system to the rest of your spine. It’s also where major nerve bundles reside, such as those corresponding to your eyes, ears, thyroid, and general mental faculties.

These reasons and more are why a simple condition like kyphosis is so dangerous. It’s why the team at Ideal Spine works so hard to educate patients on the importance of adopting good posture. Maintaining proper biomechanical structure of the neck is the key to avoiding a mess of problems originating from cervical spine disruption.

Posture is at the center of problems

When the cervical spine loses proper curvature and deviates from a neutral center of gravity, widespread disruption occurs for all of the nerve bundles residing in this region. Beyond pinched and compressed nerves, kyphosis can also disrupt the biomechanics of the neck, putting immense stress and strain on the soft tissue of the region. Finally, there’s the supported muscle groups of the neck, shoulders and chest to consider.

All of this relates to posture. Spending excess time hunched over looking down at a smartphone or with your head turned slightly to one side staring at a computer screen are two common examples of daily, negative posture. They reinforce deviation from a proper, supportive curvature and force your body to adapt to support the weight of your head. The results are seen in kyphosis-related conditions such as bulging discs, pinched nerves, and general pain.

Understanding biomechanics

Biomechanics are important because they help chiropractors understand where deviation from support has occurred and to what degree it’s affecting your health. For example, let’s take a look at how kyphosis can affect the neck as it supports the head:

  • Normal: The human head weighs about 12lbs normally. At a normal curvature, the cervical spine is designed to support this weight. There is no excess stress being placed on the spine or surrounding muscles.
  • 2-inch deviation: If the head is moved 2 inches forward on the Z-axis, approximately 20lbs of weight can be added to the head due to the lack of support against gravity. This means the head now has a force of 32lbs and the neck is strained to nearly 3x its normal to offer support.
  • 3-inch deviation: Add one more inch of forward movement and the gravitational pull of the head becomes 42lbs. The neck is thoroughly strained at this point, with a dangerous curvature that disrupts nerve pathways and stresses vertebral discs.

Kyphosis is truly a condition of inches – even millimeters when you consider the awesome force of gravity and its ability to quickly exacerbate the condition.

Biophysical relief

Understanding biomechanics is only the first step in treating kyphosis and posture-related cervical spine conditions. To apply treatment in a targeted manner, treatment must be formulated with biomechanics in mind. This is the foundation of Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP).

Through CBP, every adjustment made and every cervical spine condition assessed is done thoroughly and with a quantitative eye. Focus is on restoring proper biomechanical structure to the spine and paving the way for kyphosis suffers to live better lives.

Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.